I'm eyeing a 1999 MTH PS-1 Doodlebug in a resale shop that sells many varied items & only a few trains.  Assuming the owner lets me test it before buying (I would bring an MTH transformer &  attached track section), what do I look/listen for to see if it has the dreaded battery death issue?  I've read the numerous posts here about the "three clanks of death"/chip replacement & BCRs & frankly my head is spinning!  Is this a can of worms not worth opening?  Thank you!

Original Post

IIRC the MTH doodlebugs weren't part of the list of proto-1 that were most susceptible to the "3-clanks" problem.  However a very low or bad battery can lock you into neutral w/ idle sounds.  If the store owner permits a test, also bring a small phillips screwdriver and brand new 9 volt alkaline battery to swap out the original white MTH white 9v nicad battery for the temporary test.  You can then power up the d-bug to see if you get normal start-up sounds and can then move fwd and rev from neutral.  Also test the horn, bell and passenger sounds.  You can then remove the temporary alkaline and then reassemble when the test is done.  FWIW, I still run my PS1 d-bug but with a new battery or BCR (I forget which).  Good luck.

You can have a steam train ...If you'd just lay down your tracks.

You should put in a new battery or BCR before applying power to this unit.  The existing battery is likely dead and applying power could do harm.  The store owner, not a train guy, may not be enthused about you taking the cover off.  If it does not work, will you take your battery/BCR back?   May be doable if you talk it through with the owner in advance.

Bill

 

Keystone posted:

Bring a small phillips screwdriver and brand new 9 volt alkaline battery to swap out the original white MTH white 9v nicad battery for the temporary test.  Then power up the d-bug to see if you get normal start-up sounds and can then move fwd and rev from neutral.  Test the horn, bell and passenger sounds.  You can then remove the temporary alkaline and then reassemble when the test is done. 

Keystone, I have a detailed photo of the bottom of such a doodlebug and can see about 12 phillips head screws! LOL!   Do you know which are the critical ones for separating the shall from the frame?

RadioRon posted:

Keystone, I have a detailed photo of the bottom of such a doodlebug and can see about 12 phillips head screws! LOL!   Do you know which are the critical ones for separating the shall from the frame?

I believe there are 6 Body Mount Screws: 1 at each corner and 2 along the center sides.

MTH RK Doodlebug bottom view

You can have a steam train ...If you'd just lay down your tracks.

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Keystone posted:
RadioRon posted:

Keystone, I have a detailed photo of the bottom of such a doodlebug and can see about 15 phillips head screws! LOL!   Do you know which are the critical ones for separating the shell from the frame?

I believe there are 6 Body Mount Screws: 1 at each corner and 2 along the center sides.

MTH RK Doodlebug bottom view

Thank you so much for the help on this!   I really appreciate it!     Ron

scale rail posted:

Hi Ron, hope the engine works out for you. I have had one for years and it still runs great. I repainted mine to Milwaukee and use a couple of K-line 15 inch heavy weights behind it for a local passenger runs. Don

Got to looking at your photo more closely again, Don... and that paint job really does look nice!  Thanks for sharing!

How do you replace the battery in one of these things, please? I, too, have one of these bugs, but I haven't run it for about 20 years. I took the body off, but I can't see a battery anywhere. The owner's manual is not particularly helpful. It pretty much says, "Replace the battery …", but it doesn't say how.  Thanks for any help.

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